3 Ways To Enhance Google Chrome’s Custom Search

Simon Slangen 21-01-2013

customize chrome searchIn terms of browsing speed and flexibility, Google Chrome has long been my favorite browser. A lot of this speed comes from the browser itself. The remaining speed is the result of its extensibility. Our best of Google Chrome extensions The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More  page barely scratches the surface.


Another – and vastly underrated – way to crank up your Google Chrome browser is by using Chrome’s custom search engines. By using a preset keyword, you can search almost any website through Chrome’s omnibar. These custom search engines are added to your browser automatically as you browse the web, but we also showed you how to add your own search engines Custom Search Engines in Google Chrome: Essential Tips and Tricks You can create custom search engines to search any website from Chrome's address bar. Here's how you can make that happen. Read More to the list.

Adding the search engine of Wikipedia, Facebook, or your favorite blog is a good way to start, but you don’t have to stop there. You can use Chrome’s custom search to launch more than just simple search queries.

First, The Basics

Google Chrome’s custom search engines are accessible through the preferences. Open Chrome’s settings page, and scroll down to the ‘Search‘ preferences. Click ‘Manage search engines…‘ to open the custom search panel. Here you’ll be able to see all the search engines that are currently active in your instance of Chrome.

customize chrome search

At the bottom of the ‘other search engines’, there are three input fields you can use to add your own search engine to Chrome. Add the website’s name, the keyword you want to use to access it through Chrome’s omnibar, and the search URL. For more information, take a look at the original tutorial, How To Create Custom Search Engines in Google Chrome Custom Search Engines in Google Chrome: Essential Tips and Tricks You can create custom search engines to search any website from Chrome's address bar. Here's how you can make that happen. Read More .


1. Bookmark Shortcuts

Only half of my custom search engines are actually search engines. The rest of the list is, for the most part, comprised of my ‘special’ bookmarks, those websites that I visit almost daily. Instead of clicking through your bookmarks folder, or wasting screen real estate on a bookmarks bar, you can use Google Chrome’s omnibar to access those bookmarks on the fly.

chrome custom search

We accomplish this by adding the bookmark as if it were a ‘dumb’ search engine. That is, the improbable idea of a search engine that doesn’t accept arguments. Just add a search engine to Google Chrome with a simple keyword and the bookmark’s URL.

Now, launching a website is as simple as entering the keyword in Google Chrome’s address bar, and hitting enter. This is especially useful for webpages that use bigger, complex URLs.


2. JavaScript Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets are short pieces of JavaScript code that you add to a bookmark. Pressing the bookmark executes the script to do its magic. Bookmarklets are a faster, leaner alternative to simple browser extensions. Among other things, you can use bookmarklets to shorten the URL of the current page, clip an article to Evernote or Facebook, convert a webpage to EPUB, or look for the currently selected word on Wikipedia.

customize chrome search

Making a bookmarklet accessible through Chrome’s address bar is very similar to what we did above. Just add the bookmarklet JavaScript code in the URL space and devise a keyword to access it.

Make sure the code is prefixed with javascript:’. Google Chrome removes this keyword for safety reasons if you use copy the bookmarklet script.

Looking for inspiration? Take a look at Ellie’s take on the 20 must-have bookmarklets 20 Must-Have Bookmarklets for Your Web Browser Read More , or browse through other MakeUseOf bookmarklet articles.


3. Multiple Keyword Queries

By default, you’re only able to launch search queries with a single parameter (or none at all, like we did above). This is fine if you’re looking something up on Wikipedia, but doesn’t suffice if you’re looking for driving directions between two addresses.

var s='%s';
for(i=0; i<schunks.length; i++)query+=urlchunks[i]+schunks[i];

First provided by LifeHacker for Firefox, and adapted to Google Chrome by Jon the Geek, the JavaScript snippet shown above works neatly around that restriction. Insert your search URL in the code, with ‘%s’ used to indicate each parameter, and add the JavaScript to a custom search engine like we did before. Using a semicolon (;) to delimit the parameters, you can do a multi-parameter search (e.g. Argument-1;Argument-2).

How are you using Google Chrome’s custom search? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Explore more about: Bookmarklets, Google Chrome, Google Search.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Nostromov
    October 15, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Yea, here's the thing about Google Chrome, AKA "The NSA Spyware /Malware Nightmare".

    Google Chrome, in actuality the Chromium (a nice, open-source) browser which had been butchered by them is not really all that good - for example, in comparison with the web browser which has revolutionized the Internet some years back: Mozilla Firefox.

    Granted, it has -also- become a huge, commercialized POS - but, it has some HUGE advantages over Chrome which can't be overlooked; by anyone needing a *real* tool to navigate the web and utilize it, in the best way possible.

    One of the things, advantages, is the way profiles are handled. Configuration, customization, ease of use. Mozilla Firefox is user friendly. Not so, out of the box, as it NEEDS to be configured. Its about:config is a MAJOR strength.

    There is a need to talk about this, IMO, if you want to present Google Chrome in best light: there has to be PROOF that it's better than the alternatives. This, unfortunately, is not so.

    Mozilla Firefox has the about:config, all of its settings, the ones available from the GUI menus and others, stored in a file. This is the prefs.js (THE PREFERENCES, PREFS.JS) file which sits in the profile folder. There can be another file made, created, user.js (THE PERSONAL, USER, PREFERENCES, USER.JS) file which takes precedence over the prefs.js configuration settings and QUITE SIMPLY regulates the Internet experience EXACTLY AS INTENDED.

    There are no surprises. No unintended functions, no hold-ups, nothing hampering you from everything-and-anything that you want to do. For example, JavaScript right-clicking on web pages: in web browsers other than Mozilla Firefox, things can be hidden. Right-click can be disabled. Menus are altered and users are NOT allowed to do what they are trying to do, such as: 1) access links, 2) download images, 3) view information, file paths and (much!) more.

    Now, without -actually- disabling, turning-off JavaScript, there's nothing that a web user can do. Unless they're using Firefox. A simple setting, "dom.event.contextmenu.enabled" with its default value of TRUE being changed to FALSE enables the user to have full control over their web pages; just like they're supposed to have.

    This used to be a part of a GUI dialog, in prior Firefox versions. It *had* to be pushed deeper into the system, hidden from plain sight, in order to "please" those with an AGENDA. The Internet, however, is a FREE medium and it shall be not controlled. Mozilla Firefox gives back the user control over their environment. There are COOL, DNS /Prefetch /Privacy (and many, many other) neat settings which can be turned on and off, according to personal preference and NEED. :DD

    Look for about:config "privacy.trackingprotection.enabled" and double-click it to TRUE... NO NEED to make the user.js EXTRA file, just change the setting flat-out. Toggle the "devtools.inspector.enabled" to FALSE, to cut-down your right-click menu and speed up the browser - you'll never, really, need to use those options; & there are LOADS more to make life better, "browser.urlbar.trimURLs". =)

    This kind of thing can NOT be achieved on Google Chrome. Sure, there are extensions - of sorts - which can enable such and similar behavior; however, those extensions are (usually!) made by 3rd-party developers. People, programmers, who are NOT associated with Google, with Google Chrome. Their extensions, the CODE which you are installing and allowing to run on your computer is not sanctioned by anybody. Literally ANYTHING can be written there. If they wanted to, they could include for your web camera to take pictures and send them over the web. They can have a key-logger, which will transmit everything you type while your Google Chrome is active; sending this data to, practically, anywhere (no kidding, I'm not making this up - this is, all, very true; & simple)

    The funny part is - Google Chrome BY DEFAULT has an Option, which is NOT visible - unless the user take physical action, to use a check-box to show Advanced Options - and turn off this raging insanity. Here, have a look for yourself, please:

    "Why does Google Chrome leave running processes behind even after closing the browser?"

    Google Chrome, upon installation, has a WINDOWS SERVICE of its own AND/OR it is otherwise activated once the user logs onto the system (done, simply, through the Windows Registry): it does NOT ask the user whether we want to install it, if we want to run it. Nothing. It does it all on its own and it's completely invisible to a regular user.

    You can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, besides installing their browser - and, perhaps (who knows?), someone - anyone - will, simply, have unsolicited insight into everything you do. Maybe even video. Also, even audio. Nobody knows. Windows firewall won't know. It views it as a "friendly application" - gives it full access. Only a 3rd party firewall will, actually, ask something (also depending on settings!) about this...

    I've raved on for QUITE ENOUGH, here, really... Like, way. All you gotta do is think about it - don't believe everything you hear and read. Don't believe what I have written; but, it's all true. Look, for yourself, ANYWHERE you like - and you WILL find this (same) information. It is what it is. Pftt.

    Be smart, with your choice of browser. Tomorrow, your credit card account may be empty (no joke, lolz. :))

    ^^ And SORRY, guys, one last thing - this may NEVER happen to anyone, it could be a one-in-a-million chance; but, fact-of-the-matter-is that it could be EXACTLY you, LOL! xD

    Ugh, in your "Conclusion" (this article), you're linking to Mozilla Firefox AMO (btw., if you didn't know): "If you know how to use bookmarks, you know how to use Brief." ( Also, what seems to be missing: "Our best of Google Chrome extensions page barely scratches the surface". That link is 404, Page not found (//

    Just, WHY have they done it - that way that it's been done. It makes NO SENSE (to toy with the idea, IDK. :)). This isn't new, it's been this way from WAY back - many years /versions ago. Maybe done as a joke (I don't know, hehe), but maybe created with a purpose, really, who the heck knows?! Come on. Heh. ;-/

  2. Dr. Raed Shreteh
    January 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    how to set as a Default Search Engine in address bar ?
    .com not other regional one ?

    • Simon Slangen
      April 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      You should just be able to use as the search string.

      Also, if you go to and are redirected to a regional page, you can disable this clicking on '' in the lower right corner of your screen.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Keith Swartz
    January 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Now this is something that can be made use of EVERYDAY! You're the best,! Thanks alot!

  4. Victor Ong
    January 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Great article! I will be using these :)

  5. ZoNi
    January 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

    VERY interesting article!

    However, better solution is to put bookmarks in front of address bar (address bar is anyway to big, so it can be "cut" in half ;) ), and than remove names, just leave favicons. That is how I do (in FF, but I guess it can be done also in flexible Chrome). Something like this:

    • Martin Ristovski
      January 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      That's a great feature in FF. Wish I could do it in Chrome.

      • Nostromov
        October 15, 2016 at 4:03 am

        It's been a few years since this article and I had, just, written an extensive comment actually talking about Firefox...

        Alas, it seems like it may never be published - might've gone into review because it contains links; & it's highly doubtful that they will want to allow anything to be written against Chrome, heh. xD

  6. tyson granger
    January 22, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Surely gonna save quite a few moments of life to spare for :D

  7. Ramesh Krishna
    January 22, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Wow Great Post

  8. Francisco de Gusmão
    January 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    great tips! thanks!